‘Hauliers must be allowed access to EU through UK’ – Clune

Further concerns have been raised over the law currently making its way through the UK’s House of Commons, this time in relation to the haulage sector.

Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune was speaking to representatives of the Freight Transport Association Ireland when she said: “We have seen the UK government introduce controversial legislation that would undermine what was agreed in the withdrawal agreement.

“The EU has come to the table many times in good faith and with a view to securing a future partnership that respects standards in the EU and also the hard-earned peace in Northern Ireland,” Clune argued.

The UK is a huge trade partner for Ireland. Around 10% of Irish exports go to the UK, over €12 billion in 2019. It purchases 51% of Ireland’s beef exports, 37.2% of Ireland’s food and drink exports and 58.9% of Ireland’s iron and steel exports.

“Not only this but Ireland is also heavily reliant on the UK as a route of passage from Ireland to the EU and vice versa. No other country in the EU has the same reliance on the UK as Ireland,” the Fine Gael MEP highlighted.

She stressed that a land bridge to the EU through the UK is “vital to our economy”, and that lorry drivers “must be allowed” to make the journey across Britain to other EU countries.

Clune continued: “Many Irish hauliers’ business models depend on being able to do multiple operations on a trip through the UK, without which a lot of businesses are at risk.

The threat of no-deal looms which could prove potentially very damaging for Ireland as we deal with the economic consequences of a global pandemic.

Clune noted that Irish freight, passenger and logistics industry representatives had stressed the need for reassurances that such contingency measures will be in place if they are needed in a no-deal situation.

“Freight and haulage companies will need time to prepare for adoption to any change in rules, or we could face potential blockages in road freight transport. I am calling on the European Commission to work to provide these assurances,” she said.